Where Are You Going? What Will You Do When You Get There?

Blog-Curve-BlownLaureen Marchand, “Blown” (oil/board)
to be exhibited at Assiniboia Gallery beginning Nov. 21, 2015

What will you do when you get what you want?

In the insightful and brilliantly supportive book Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland (Every artist should own a copy! Get yours now!), the authors talk about what stops artists making art. Two reasons? They don’t get what they want. And they do.

“Artists quit,” Bayles and Orland say, “when they convince themselves that their next effort is doomed to fail. And artists quit when they lose the destination for their work – for the place where their work belongs.”

You can lose the destination for your work when you lose a support system. “Not many people,” say the authors, “continue making art when their work is no longer seen, no longer exhibited, no longer commented upon, no longer encouraged.”

And artists stop making art when they reach a goal. The solo exhibition they’ve been aiming at for years. The completed body of work. The perfect painting. Success “transmutes into depression.” You got what you wanted. You reached a destination and you don’t have another one. Now what?

According to Bayles and Orland, “Avoiding this fate has something to do with not letting your current goal become you only goal. With individual artworks it means leaving some loose thread, some unexplored issue, to carry forward and explore in the next piece. With larger goals, (like…major shows) it means always carrying with you the seed crystal for your next destination.”

Um. I guess I missed that instruction.

From 2010 to 2014, I worked toward one major exhibition. That was Beholder, shown at the Art Gallery of Regina in the spring of 2014. I mapped out a course, forged new trails, figured out my directions. The path wasn’t easy but I could just about see where I wanted to go.

Then I got there. The exhibition opened and its reception was lovely. I was proud and happy and it never occurred to me, not once, that I didn’t know what I’d do next.

There’ve been a lot of false starts between then and now. Some of them looked like they might lead somewhere and some were less certain. At every point I wondered if I’d ever get back on track. And now? Not sure. I like the current paintings. Will they become a new destination, one to keep me going? Only one way to know.


Do you know where you’re going? I’d love to help you with that. Currently there are three places in my artist mentoring schedule. I invite you to apply. Your application comes with a free introductory session, to make sure we’re a good fit. There is no charge for the introductory session – and no guarantee I will offer you a mentoring place afterwards. I’m taking new applicants until Friday, November 6. Everyone who gets in touch before that time will receive their free-of-charge intro session before the end of the month. And we’ll go from there.

Don’t wait. Click here for more information. Let’s go together.

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2 Responses to Where Are You Going? What Will You Do When You Get There?

  1. Eve October 30, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    Best luck with your mentoring program Laureen. In spring I had no idea what I would explore next. Everything held my attention for one painting only. The results were alright, but I wasn’t attached. I’m always amazed at how first I must become attach to an idea and then I must detach just a little too get on with it. I’ve come to trust (though it might not feel comfortable at the time), that when I reach a goal, another new goal will come up.

    • Laureen October 30, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

      I think this is a perfect description of that space when the goals aren’t quite there. And of how to get past that. Detach and trust – words to put on the studio wall!